Rockford... On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure the civil rights of people with disabilities. This legislation established a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

On Sunday, State Representative John M. Cabello (R-Machesney Park) and local RAMP leaders celebrated the 25th anniversary of the signing of the ADA with legislation of their own, which Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law.

“The signing of House Bill 4049 is a great step forward for the disability community. With a signature Illinois laws will now reflect the language being used by individuals with disabilities who make up 20 percent of the population. In taking this step the State of Illinois is recognizing the work of advocates in the Disability Rights movement across the country to elevate, educate, and infiltrate individuals with disabilities to equal status at all levels of the communities in which they live. Disability Rights ARE Civil Rights.”

House Bill 4049 removes antiquated language from current statutes in Illinois and replaces those terms with Person First Language. For example, the law changes all occurrences of "the physically handicapped" to "persons with physical disabilities", changes all occurrences of "the handicapped" or "handicapped persons" or "handicapped individuals" to "persons with disabilities", and changes all occurrences of "handicapping condition" to "disabling condition".

“I was honored that RAMP reached out to me to carry this monumental legislation,” said Rep. Cabello. “Their staff is always going above what is asked to help the community and I deeply appreciate their effort to get this legislation passed. It’s important we continue to recognize the progress that has been made through ADA and that we strive towards reaching full ADA compliance in Illinois.”

House Bill 4049 has an immediate effective date.


SPRINGFIELD, IL – For those in northern Illinois, the Torstenson Youth Conservation Education Center may be a best-kept secret among outdoors enthusiasts. To highlight this 750-acre hub of youth conservation activities, the Illinois Conservation Foundation is hosting a free open house from Noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 2. 

“Not enough families know about the programs and resources that the Torstenson Center offers,” said Wayne Rosenthal, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director and ICF Chairman.  “They’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the range of educational activities available to them when we open this beautiful property up to the public.”

Attendees are welcome to come with children and families to take part in conservation-related activities and events.  Children will get a chance for hands-on experiences with archery, crafts, and mammal identification with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police trailer.  They’ll also get to learn about pollinators and outdoors activities, as well as wildlife brought to the event from the Hoo Haven Wildlife Refuge.  

Additional organizations that will be on-site include the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, and more.  In addition to scheduled events, the ICF is also offering tours of the full property to see the new catch-and-release fishing pond, the beautiful 11,000 square-foot log cabin and archery range.

“This is a great opportunity to visit several organizations that share a similar mission,” said Eric Schmidt, ICF Executive Director.  “We’re all inspiring the next generation of conservation leaders, and this is a chance to turn ‘screen time into green time’ for area children.”

This event will occur rain or shine, and food will be provided in return for donations to the ICF and Torstenson Center.  The Torstenson Center is located at 13735 Cook Road, Pecatonica, IL 61063.

For more information, please visit www.ilcf.org or call (217) 785-2003.